NetOne’s equipment partner, Huawei Technologies has already committed $800 million (globally) towards research and development of the 5G network.
NetOne managing director Eng Reward Kangai told the Herald Business on the sidelines of the company’s event to handover vehicles to the winners of the NetOne Load Up and Win Promotion last week that Huawei is currently in the laboratory developing the 5G service.
The 5G network is the next major phase of mobile telecommunications standards beyond the current 4G and is often described with reference to speed in terms of gigabits per second. The service is touted to be 10 times faster than 4G.
Apart from providing faster speeds, experts forecast that 5G network will also provide a platform for the “Internet of Things” where devices communicate with each other directly rather than relying on network operators’ base stations.
Experts say this will increase the bandwidth available, lower power consumption and reduce infrastructure costs.
“I can tell you that 5G development is in the research and development laboratories. Our supplier Huawei technologies of China have already committed $800 million towards research and development for the 5G,” said Eng Kangai.
The development of the 5G service will enhance NetOne’s services locally and position the country along with other global mobile services providers.
“Why 5G higher data speeds are required. There are developments towards development of driverless cars which need to communicate with each other to avoid collisions. That communication has to happen very fast and without any delays and to achieve that you need something with the capability of 5G,” said Eng Kangai.
NetOne has a long standing relationship with Huawei, which is supplying equipment under a $218 million loan facility extended by China EximBank.
Last August President Mugabe witnessed the signing of a loan agreement between China EximBank and Zimbabwe Government.
The equipment under the facility has already started coming into the country.
“We are in the midst of implementing a very extensive project which we call the Mobile Broadband Project.
“The thrust of the project is to expand 2.5G base stations, 3G base stations and 4G base stations.
“We are going to provide 3G base stations and moving forward we are also going to be providing 4G base stations,” said Eng Kangai.
Mr Kangai said plans for network expansion are ongoing because the mobile business requires regular expansion.
NetOne has done 25 base stations this year alone while 50 more were done last year.